Measures to discourage commuters' unsafe behaviour
Pretoria – Metrorail Operations have been given a safety directive that trains will no longer leave the platform if commuters are hanging on the outside.
Security has also been put on high alert to take strong action against any passenger found riding outside the trains.
“We have taken a decision to strengthen our enforcement against commuters hanging on the outside of our trains putting their lives at risk and opening Metrorail to unsafe operating practices. We will now insist that our trains only depart the platform once all the doors have been closed with no commuter hanging on the outside of the train,” said PRASA Rail CEO Mosenngwa Mofi.
She said anyone caught hanging on the outside of the train, including those people that staff ride trains in between stations, will be arrested and prosecuted.
Mofi said that while there was a shortage in train sets and a high prevalence of breakdowns resulting in overcrowding, this did not justify operating under “perilous conditions”.
“We have on many occasions been candid about the chronic shortage and unreliability of our train sets which is why the expected new trains in 2015/16 will be such a welcome relief. We are, however, making no concessions when it comes to unsafe travelling practices which have become prevalent on our system.”
In the 2012/13 financial year, Metrorail operators reported 238 fatalities, out of those 221 were people struck by trains while walking on the tracks which accounts for 93% of the fatalities. A total of 17 of those were of people falling while hanging outside the trains or vandalised train doors.
Older train sets are currently being refurbished to improve reliability and express trains and shuttle train services have been introduced for short and intermediate trips to alleviate overcrowding. The Metrorail system is also undergoing a major modernisation exercise on critical areas of operations, such as rail tracks and signalling, among others.
“Metrorail will not tolerate dangerous and unsafe travel practices. We have on many occasions agreed that currently, our service is not to our customer’s needs in terms of on-time performance and reliability.
“At the heart of it, we as PRASA Rail want to run a safe and efficient service while still undergoing major improvements and modernisation that will, over time, be able to respond to customer expectations.
“Until such time, we will not condone unsafe travel in the name of overcrowding and our trains will not leave the platform if commuters are not securely inside the trains with closed doors. We are working with the Commuter Forums in promoting safe travelling and the reporting of any adverse behaviour, we also encourage our commuters to be responsible and safe while travelling,” said the CEO.
Mofi also appealed to commuters to stop vandalising trains which further reduces the number of operational sets as they have to go for replacement. – SAnews.gov.za